The Power of Nature-based Designs in Healthcare Facilities

nature design in the hospital

Why do many healthcare facilities incorporate nature-based designs? It’s a hospital design trend that has caught on over the years, but it’s not all about the aesthetics of nature. Doctors and researchers have long discussed the “healing powers” of nature-based environments, which are well documented in the research community.  

Using Nature to Heal

The concept of the healing powers of nature was given the name Biophilia in 1984. Since then, numerous studies and papers have discussed the positive link between health and nature, and while simple contact with nature won’t cure any disease, it has been linked to a variety of positive health effects that include: 

  • Lower concentrations of cortisol 

  • Lower pulse rates 

  • Lower blood pressure 

  • Greater parasympathetic nerve activity 

  • Lower sympathetic nerve activity 

The idea is to use contact with and views of nature as therapeutic aids to the natural healing process of patients.  

Introducing Natural Design Concepts into Synthetic Spaces 

Tokyo, the most populated city in the world, has four national parks and dozens of gardens scattered across its many prefectures. New York, the most densely populated city in the U.S.surrounds Central Park, a staggering 843 acres of nature that comprises 6 percent of Manhattan’s entire land area. No matter how urban an area becomes, humans crave nature, it is a “natural” part of our lives, and it’s something our bodies need to heal and stay healthy (see circadian rhythms).  

Healthcare facilities have learned from this, and modern hospitals now feature large windows that allow lots of natural light into facilities, plants and indoor/rooftop gardens that patients can visit, and many other nature-based designs in their facilities. Even in older facilities where there is limited access to windows and parks, designers have taken an active interest in creating interior designs that mimic natural settings. These range from simple design elements  walls that are painted with natural earth tones and trees and plants placed throughout facilities — to more robust murals depicting natural settings. 

Interior designers and architects are even getting creative with the design and shape of rooms and hallways, adding curves and other shapes naturally found in nature to replace the boxy look of architecturally-designed geometric shapes. Curved hallways that are painted with shades of blue mimic the natural flow of a river, while apex-rounded areas and furniture painted with shades of green emulate the natural shape of leaves. When the design is consistent throughout the entire facility, patients feel the effects from the moment they are admitted to the time they leave. 

Bring Nature-based Designs to Your Patient Room Boards 

If you are redesigning your healthcare facility to emulate nature, don’t forget to bring these designs into your patient room boards. At VividBoard, we can help you customize whiteboard designs that match the colors, pattern and design aesthetic of your facility. We have several pre-made, nature-based design patterns to choose from, or you can choose to have custom images, colors, patterns and other design elements placed on your board. Contact our team to discuss how we can bring the healing power of nature to your whiteboards. 

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